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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
(1) what assistance the Government makes available to ensure that people with life-long mental health conditions are supported in making claims for benefits;
(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that the needs of those with a life-long mental health condition which prevents them working are met during the assessment process for benefits.
The DWP recognise that individuals with mental health conditions face certain challenges in the application and assessment process for benefits. Special provisions are therefore in place to support individuals with a mental health condition in making a claim.
For example, during the application process for both employment and support allowance and personal independence payment, claimants with mental, intellectual and cognitive impairments who do not return their claim form are referred directly to the assessment provider for a face-to-face consultation, rather than ending their claim. Information sent to the claimant before the face-to-face consultation also specifies that they may bring a relative, carer or friend to the assessment.
All health professionals carrying out disability assessments receive specific training in assessing mental health conditions. In addition Mental Function Champions spread best practice and also provide support in more complex cases to their health professional colleagues.
As a result to recent changes to the WCA it is now more accurately assessing people with a mental health condition. Shortly after ESA was introduced, 33% of people claiming with mental health condition received the benefit. Latest published figures show that is now 43%.